Andreas Smedegaard is probably the youngest speedway team leader. In an interview he told us a little bit about his career and a new challenge that awaits him with the start of the 2021 season.

Konrad Cinkowski (Twój Portal Żużlowy): You’re not a well known rider in Poland. Before we start, please say something about yourself.
Andreas Smedegaard
(team leader Vojens Speedway Klub): I am an 18 years old man from Denmark, born mid April 2002. I spent my whole life in a small town called Hedensted in Jutland. This summer (2020) I finished my highschool degree with a focus on business studies. Today I am studying to become an electrician at a school in Vejle, Denmark.

– Can you say how it all started? I mean, how did you get interested in speedway and when did you make the decision to try it.
– My interest in speedway has always been there, since my father has been quite a rider himself. Thereby you could say that it is something I am born with. But more specifically my own engagement with this sport started around the age of 7. My dad agreed to coach me and then we started this journey and a shared passion for this unique and fantastic sport. To be honest I do not think that it was a decision I spent too much time thinking about. One day we did find a used junior bike and a helmet and decided to put me on the track – luckily I had a blast that day.

– To be honest, we don’t know a lot about you. Can you present some of your successes?
– It is not the longest list with many successes. I have always been a steady rider with a lot of determination, but never one of the top talents. During few years I was a rider at the 250cc danish national team and had participated in European Championship. I did not achieve anything extraordinary. In my later years I unfortunately had some huge crashes, which did stop my development.

– When you were 18 years old you’ve decided to end your career. What’s the reason behind that decision?
– I took the decision to end my active career in speedway based on my latest experiences from the track. I must acknowledge the fact that my career as a speedway rider would probably never be as great as I had hoped for. After a few hard crashes I didn’t feel the same on the track. I think when you grow older you either get more scared because you understand the consequences a bit better, or you get more aggressive on track because you are more aware what is going on and what it takes. Unfortunately I belong to the first category. But in the end I have never lost the passion or the interest in speedway – I am still a 100% into speedway, and now I am fully excited to take on to another role within the sport.

– Are you done with the speedway or do you see yourself coming back in a few years on track?
– I will start by saying: Never say never! But at the moment I do not think I will be back on track. I don’t see myself as a professional rider anymore. Although, I have kept one bike if I ever want to go for a stroll or help the team out during practice.

– You will probably be the youngest speedway coach. Where did you get the idea to take this role?
– As mentioned above my dad has had a lot of experience within the sport and he has also been a coach for me and several others. He spoke very highly of the trainer-role. Besides that, Jacob Olesen has also been my coach and he taught me what it means to have a good and determined coach. He gave me a lot of advice and made me want to try it for myself. Hopefully I will bring back some of the things I have learned and loved for the last 11 years of riding.

– Will you only work with the Division 1 team or also the Division 2 team?
– At the beginning I will be having control over both teams. To handle this I have hopefully found the right assistant who is a great friend of mine. Patrick Knop is 20 years old and does not have a lot of experience within the sport, but does have experience with coaching which he will bring to the table with him. The vision is that after a proper introduction to the sport he would take over the 2. Division team and thereby get us a new team leader.

– Can you reveal who will be racing in your team?
– Divison 1: Jonas Knudsen, Jesper Knudsen, Nick Agertoft, Chris Wænnerstrøm and Norick Blödorn. Divison 2: Mikkel Larsen, Noah Moos and Oliver Klochmann. Divison 1 and 2 – Andreas Hvid.

– Do you think that leading a team will be difficult for you because you will be a peer or sometimes even a bit younger than some riders?
– This is a question that I hear very often and of course this a question I have also asked myself before agreeing to this new role. I think my way of dealing with this is to show a lot of determination, passion and understandment of this sport. Hopefully with this I will earn some respect and bring this team a lot of successes. Besides, I have also been riding with a lot of the riders myself. We already share a connection. This relationship definitely makes things easier as well.

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